This perfectly crispy caramelized orange ginger air fryer salmon is tender, flaky, and incredibly flavorful. Cooks perfectly in 12 minutes!

Caramelized salmon fillets on parchment over a cutting board with bowl of glaze next to it.

This is the sweet and sticky salmon you’ve been waiting for.

Syrupy and fingerlickin’ good. At first blush, the idea of sweetening up fish fillets might seem a little unusual. But if you’re a salmon lover, you already know how well this works out. In this recipe we marinate salmon in a salty and savory sesame soy blend, air fry it until it’s crispy on the outside—but still tender on the inside—and brush it with a honeyed orange ginger glaze. It’s *chef kiss*; a thing of beauty!

How to cook salmon in the air fryer.

I’ve covered several ways to cook fish in my Fish and Seafood Guide, but air frying is new to me. Luckily it’s a breeze and it didn’t take me long to find the sweet spot for salmon. Gently pat the fillets with paper towels, season then with salt and pepper—or whatever seasoning you’re using. I like to marinate my fillets prior to air frying, but that’s optional. I just find that marinating the salmon leaves the interior super tender, and the outside, more flavorful. For cooking, simply place the fillets onto the air fryer basket skin-side down. You can line the basket with aluminum foil for easier clean up, but this is also optional.

Caramelized salmon fillets on parchment over a cutting board with bowl of glaze next to it.

How long to cook salmon in an air fryer.

This will depend on the weight and thickness of your fillets. My butcher offers 8 oz fillets, and these fillets are about an inch thick at their fattest end. I air fry these for 12 minutes at 375º F. Smaller fillets, say around 6 oz, will likely be ready between 8-10 minutes. Your best bet is to have an instant read Meat Thermometer so you can check on the internal temperature. With any fish, you’re looking for an internal temperature of 145º F. If you pop the air fryer open too early, don’t fret! Just pop the fish back in and cook for another minute or two until you reach that ideal temperature. In this recipe, I open the air fryer two minutes early and hit the fillets with the honey-based glaze, then air fry for the remaining two minutes. This cooks the glaze enough to give a bit of caramelization. If you glaze the fillets too early, especially from the start, the glaze will burn. If you have a glaze or sauce that isn’t sugar-based you can brush it onto your fillets at any point. But sugar burns! So be mindful of that.

Cutting board with a sliced orange, microplane with zest, and pinch bowls of ingredients.

Left: Glass bowl with marinating salmon; Right: bowl of glaze with a spoon in it.

Here’s the super simple list of ingredients!

  • Salmon fillets
  • Sesame oil
  • Soy sauce
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Orange
  • Honey
  • Sesame seeds
  • Sea salt and pepper

The gist on how to make Caramelized Orange Ginger Air Fryer Salmon.

  1. Whisk the sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger, and garlic together in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Place the salmon fillets into the bowl with the marinade and gently toss them to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. When ready to cook, place the fillets into the air fryer basket skin-side down; air fry at 375º F for 10 minutes. 
  4. In the meantime, make the glaze. Mix the orange juice, zest, honey, and sesame seeds together in a small bowl.
  5. When 10 minutes is up, open the air fryer and brush a light coating of the glaze onto the tops of the fillets. Close the air fryer up and cook for another two minutes. This will give the glaze a nice caramelization.
  6. When done, transfer the fillets to a serving dish, brush them with more glaze—as much as you want!—and serve them with an orange wedge, for fresh juice squeezin’.

Left: uncooked salmon fillets in air fryer basket; Right: cooked salmon fillets with caramelization.

Equipment you’ll need:

Recipe Tips + Tricks:

  1. You could swap out honey for agave nectar if you prefer.
  2. If you want to add some heat, mix some crushed red pepper flakes into the glaze!
  3. Always brush the fillets with glaze near the end of cooking time—about two minutes before done. Don’t glaze the salmon in the beginning of the cooking process, because it will burn due to the sugar.
  4. This salmon is fantastic with coconut rice, roasted sweet potatoes, bok choy, or garlicky green beans!

Left: plate of salmon over green beans; Right: salmone flaked by a fork over green beans.

Other tasty salmon recipes to try:

Hope you enjoy!

If you plan on making this recipe, be sure to snap a pic and tag us on Insta! @killing__thyme.

Caramelized salmon fillets on parchment over a cutting board with bowl of glaze next to it.

Get the Recipe:

Caramelized Orange Ginger Air Fryer Salmon

This perfectly crispy caramelized orange ginger air fryer salmon is tender, flaky, and incredibly flavorful. Cooks perfectly in 12 minutes!

Ingredients

  • 2 salmon fillets, 6-8 oz each
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • 1 TBSP sesame oil
  • 1 TBSP freshly grated ginger
  • 2 TBSP soy sauce
  • 3 cloves of garlic, grated to a paste
  • Orange wedges, for serving

Honey Orange Glaze.

  • 1 large orange, zested and juiced
  • 2 TBSP raw honey
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • Sesame seeds

Equipment

  • air fryer

Instructions 

  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk the sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger, and garlic. Place the salmon into the marinade and gently toss to coat; cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, up to 8 hours.
  • To cook, carefully place the salmon fillets into the air fryer basket, skin-side down.
  • Air fry the salmon at 375º F for 10 minutes.
  • In the meantime, make the glaze. With a fork, mix the orange juice, orange zest, honey, ginger, and sesame seeds together in a small bowl; set aside.
  • When 10 minutes is up on the air fryer, open it up and brush the fillets with a bit of the glaze. Close the air fryer and cook the fillets for another two minutes, or until the salmon reaches an internal temperature of 145º F.
  • When ready, transfer the fillets to a serving dish, brush them with more of the glaze, and serve with an orange wedge, for a fresh squeeze of juice!
Calories: 445kcal